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Coe Brown gets defensive, tops KHS 59-41

CONWAY — After suffering a 33 point loss earlier this season Coe-Brown Northwood Academy was eager to see the Kennett High girls basketball team again this winter. The Bears got their wish Tuesday in the opening round of the Division II playoffs and beat the Eagles to every loose ball on their way to a 59-41 victory to reach the Elite 8.

The eighth seeded Bears will travel to No. 1 seed, undefeated Lebanon, in the next round, this Friday at 7 p.m.

Kennett, the ninth seed, won the lone meeting with Coe-Brown on Jan. 18 in Redstone, easily dismantling the Bears 63-32. The Eagles shot the lights out that night, unfortunately that wasn't the case Tuesday.

"Coe-Brown came to play," Larry Meader, Eagles' head coach, said. "They played tough defense, were physical and if the ball was free they were determined they were going to get it. I've got to hand credit to Coe-Brown, their defense was so much better this time around."

The Eagles, who played their fifth straight game without senior tri-captain Lauren White, who has been sidelined with a concussion, missed their starting center. White averaged 12 rebounds this season and was among the team's top three scorers.

"Not having Lauren definitely hurt us," Meader said, "We only got nine offensive rebounds all night — we didn't shoot lights outs for a second time so we definitely needed those second chance points, but Coe-Brown seemed to get to everything."

The girls from Conway trailed 13-7 after the first quarter an 29-21 at the half.

"We tied it up in the third by going to a 1-2-2 defense with a three-quarter trap and (the Bears) struggled against it for a little while," Meader said. "... They were able to make an adjustment and got it back to a half-court game. Plus, they took advantage of second and third chance points. It seemed like every loose ball was theirs. ... When you commit 23 turnovers and get only nine offensive rebounds, it doesn't give you many chances to score."

Coe-Brown led 45-33 after three frames.

Jordan Murphy led the Eagles with nine points while Lauren Kidder added eight; Gwynn McGinley, eight; Juliauna Dunlop, six; Kaylin Samia, four; Amanda Nusbaum, four; and Erin Milford, two.

Kennett loses three seniors — White, Murphy and Kidder — all were four-year varsity players, to graduation.

"We're going to miss them," Meader said. "We'll have to adapt and have a different look next year. We'll be a different team. We're going to need to play better defense and try to run more and play an up-tempo game. We'll start working on that at the end of June, I can't wait."

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